Australian PM Kevin Rudd has formally apologized, on behalf of Australia as a whole, for the stolen generations, the 100,000-plus Aborigine children who were pried from their families and taken as wards of the state in internment camps or orphanages, where they were frequently physically and sexually abused. The Australian right, including recently ousted PM John Howard has repeated denied or defended this and other abuses of aborigines. Rudd deserves the world’s thanks for facing down the denialists, for doing it so early in his term (he was inaugurated in December), and most of all, for doing it with such power and eloquence:
A view that somehow we the Parliament should suspend our most basic instincts of what is right and what is wrong, a view that instead we should look for any pretext to push this great wrong to one side to leave it languishing with the historians, the academics and the cultural warriors as if the stolen generations are little more than an interesting sociological phenomenon.
The stolen generations are not intellectual curiosities, they are human beings, human beings who have been damaged deeply by the decisions of parliaments and governments.
As of today the time for denial, the time for delay, has at last come to an end.
Amen. And hopefully, someday, the US will follow his lead.